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Jul 21, 2009

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Quotidian Grace

Thanks for the recommendation, Mike. This looks very interesting! I think my husband (an economics major) would like to read it too.

Victor V Claar

Thanks for the review, Mike. I'd been concerned that several "right wing" groups had been latching onto the book, though I know Jay and am sure that he's more thoughtful than some of the places I see embracing it. So thanks for the careful, thoughtful reflection.

If you are interested, Jay was on C-SPAN's Book TV recently. Here's a link:

http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=285816-1&showVid=true

Should start playing automatically. If not, either allow popups, or click the red "f" on the right.

Michael W. Kruse

I confess that I held my breath as I read this book, not knowing what to expect. I'm 180 degrees opposite Jay on science and evolution (I'm a theistic evolutionist.) I've heard him live a few times and chatted with him once briefly. The Acton crowd can get a bit polemic at times but Jay did a great job with this book.

Thanks for the link. I'll give it a look. He also spoke at the Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/press/events/ev050609a.cfm

Michael W. Kruse

Just checked out your link and I see it is the CSPAN recording of the same event.

Rick McGinniss

Cool! I just bought this book to read on my vacation next week!

Michael W. Kruse

I'll be curious to know your take, Rick.

ceemac

I wish you would do more on a "Theology for living in affluence."

You have always made good arguments for the value of capitalism for lifitng countries and people out of poverty.

But at the same time the United States is an awful role model for what to do once you are out of poverty.


Michael W. Kruse

Interesting that you should raise that idea. I've been thinking about something along those lines but I'm not sure where to start.

Travis Greene

“… an economic system with rule of law and private property, in which people can freely exchange goods and services.”

Going by that definition, I can certainly agree. The problem in our discourse today is that many of the loudest pro-capitalism voices tend to ignore the "rule of law" component, and brand any rules of the road as "socialism".

Michael W. Kruse

Travis, I think you’re right. I’ve heard many use “free markets” as a mantra against all sorts of things. It is essential to all parties that transactions are relatively transparent and that all parties have recourse to a just and impartial legal system when wronged. There is also the issue of “externalities,” costs (or advantages) incurred by others not a party to the transaction (ex. the decline in property values my neighbors experience when I contract with Tyson to open up a hog farm in my backyard.) Absence of regulation is not free markets … its anarchy.

Contrary to claims of Wallis and others, the OT prophets were not addressing economic inequality but rather unjust systems: Bribery, exclusion from being heard at the city gates (i.e., the courts), false scales (deceptive trade practices), and failure to honor the land provisions of the Jubilee (property rights). Regulation to equalize outcomes was not in view.

It is critical to a baseball game to have the umpires impartially enforce the rules. That is one form of regulation. However, when a team is consistently beating other teams by double digits, the umpire does not have the authority to tell the team they must now bat standing on one leg in order to equalize outcomes. That too would be regulation. Some who would favor an umpire having such power to equalize characterize those who oppose the idea as being against “regulation” and wanting unbridled competition.

Most people I know who champion “free markets” thoroughly embrace regulation but the rub comes in how far we can (or should) go beyond having an economic umpire versus and having an economic outcome manager. I think there is room for reasonable people to disagree without being pegged Social Darwinists or communists.

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